‘Tis the season.
Both to be jolly and for Medical Mondays.
Why am I opening the post with a festive saying?
Well, today was my do everything Christmas that I can’t normally get done in my real life day.
For those of you who are new here, I am a second year Radiation Oncology resident married with a husband and a cat. I, contrary to popular belief by some, do have friends both near and far. I have a church and a small group and volunteer commitments. I have parents and in-laws and all kinds of extended family. I have an apartment that needs keeping. I have a blog that would like to be written in. I have a research project that needs to be finished.
As you can imagine, I, likely much like you, am very busy. Very, very busy.
Over the years as a med student and now a resident, I learned that Christmas shopping, decorating and such is very, well, challenging when you work more often than not and try to have a life on the side.
First of all, I must say that residents in my neck of the woods are lucky.
We have six days of vacation either around Christmas or New Years. It is a beautiful thing when you are from away and have people you want to see. We were off last year for Christmas and will be again this year.
You would think that everyone fights to get Christmas off, but really, they don’t. The thing is that the six days after Christmas are busy to work because everyone comes to hospital that was trying to avoid it during the earlier holidays. Also, most families tend to be busier the week of Christmas. So, you go home, you run around from place to place to place and then you get back and work like a crazy person. I ended up defaulting to Christmas this year because I missed an email that said the holidays were first come first served.
That being said, it is wonderful to be home with family for the holidays. I love it. We have great families and traditions.
But also, besides the busyness of it all, we have NEVER had a Christmas on our own. We always lived away and always have gone home for Christmas. This will be our fifth Christmas of doing that.
There is a piece of me that just wants to do our own thing. To have our own traditions.
I mean, we have our own traditions. It just isn’t the same as those we know who have always had their own space or time. Odds are our traditions would be altered by beeps of pagers and me needing to go round, but still, they would be our own traditions.
And we still have other traditions. I always get to put my giant microbes on our tree (this year our tree is bigger). Patrick always adds some sort of tacky ornament somewhere that kind of bothers me. We read the Christmas story to each other before bed on Christmas Eve.
This year, I am sending out Christmas cards for the first time. We have a tree that is full sized.
It is like we are become a real family while still going home for festivities as usual.
But, as I was saying, I am busy. This month, I need to do a resident presentation, finish the statistical analysis for my research project and submit an abstract for presentation at a conference in the new year. I work full time. I cover call. We are hosting the resident Christmas party (there are 4 of us, it really isn’t that big of a deal).
So, I did what is probably my best decision yet. I used one of my vacation days to make a long weekend.
Then, we came back and today, I hammered out my Christmas shopping.
Literally, my Christmas shopping.
I am done it. Patrick just needs to pick up Christmas presents for his Dad, Grandfather and Uncle. I have everyone else covered. Everyone else!
Now, I just have to wrap it. Which I am going to get started on shortly.
The beautiful part is that I did the shopping on a Monday. During the day. Thus avoiding the horrors that are weekend and evening stores and still getting some excellent deals that tag on to the weekend sales.
Our Christmas cards are almost all written. Just need stamps and the addresses for Patrick’s family (hint, hint).
Tonight, we put up our tree. We inherited a tree from my parents (who inherited it from my Grandmother). It is big and green. These are both key features since I have never had a green tree until I was married and we have never had a full sized tree!
I have gotten nothing useful done for work today. But, I have accomplished lots of other important things.
Best day off choice ever.
Multitasking and scheduling are huge in surviving the adventure that is life combined with residency. Days like this give glimmers of normalcy. Sometimes they just need to be prioritized in. I think it makes us better people.